Yourself Macromedia Flash MX 2004 by
Phillip Kerman, ISBN 0-672-32594-2
to the web site
(US), $45.99 (CAN), UK £21.99
When I received this book I had a couple of expectations,
a) that it would be very comprehensive, and b) that
it would provide me with an overview of the art of
creating Flash web sites. It does the first very
well and by its very nature fails at the second.
I had to eliminate my expectations and take another
look at this book from the viewpoint of a beginner.
I have been working in the design industry for about
20 years and this proves a bit of a handicap when
it comes to looking at books and manuals aimed at
the beginner. I had to take this book at face value.
It is a book aimed clearly at the beginner and also
at the non-graphics computer user. But that's a good
Phillip Kerman does a commendable job of stepping
the reader through Flash MX 2004 and covers many
of the program's key features using a practical,
grass roots type of approach. The projects in this
book are very simple and easy to absorb allowing
the user to very quickly grasp the fundamentals of
Flash. Each workshop takes the user though a particular
exercise and then recaps the project in a short quiz
focusing on key elements from the exercise. There
are also useful tips and cautions placed throughout
each exercise to highlight key issues and features.
I found some of these tips a little more basic than
necessary and feel these should have been in a fundamentals
section in the beginning of the book, but then again
that may just be a personal bias.
The weakest aspect of this book is in its coverage
of Action Scripting, but this too is forgivable as
it is hardly an area where beginners are going to
want to jump in. It's an area in which a separate
book dedicated to Action Scripting will naturally
provide more information and room for clarification.
I found a lot of the information placed in the Appendices
was useful but could have appeared earlier in the
book. The inclusion of links in this section was
good but could have been a bit more thorough. However,
and quite understandably, this is also fraught with
the danger of changes because of web sites going
down (and out). This could be addressed with a web
presence as found with other publications in the
This book deals with fundamentals, and as you step through
the very basic tutorials, it's very easy to retain the
information and techniques to which you are introduced.
Armed with the experience gained in working with this book,
you'll be able to confidently expand your knowledge of
Flash MX - it's a powerful tool. Once you've finished this
book you'll want to pick up some more advanced training
materials, all of which will be easier to work with due
to this book.
Cons: Lack of real world examples for the user to aspire
to. Lack of color. Fails to put all the pieces together
for complete and viable project.
Pros: Clear and straightforward approach to each project.
This book succeeds in giving the user a basic overview
of the many features in Macromedia Flash MX.
What this book does is take users by the hand and leads
them through the basics of Flash, providing a good foundation
upon which they can build. It won't turn anyone into a
Flash guru, but it will start you on the road to competence.
This book is clearly not aimed at the professional user
and I recommend it for the beginner or the creative with
no experience in Flash.
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